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Relocation planning

Relocating can be extremely stressful and complicated. But there are things you can do to ensure a smooth, successful transition. SDC International Shipping’s Relocation Planning Guide

Relocation Planning

People relocate from the United States to countries around the world for many reasons. Most of the steps in relocation planning will be identical for everyone relocating. Some of the steps will differ depending upon circumstances.

In this guide, SDC International Shipping will try to point some of the things that will help you plan for your relocation to a new country.

Relocation Planning Necessities for Everyone

Regardless of your reasons for relocation, certain steps need to be taken by everyone.

Make a Pilot Trip to your Destination

Even if you are a citizen of the country, visiting it before you move is really important. If you have visited numerous times as a tourist or family member, a preparatory trip is necessary. Some of the things you need to arrange for long before you move are:

  • Living arrangements. If you don’t already own a property where you are moving to, you should start talking to real estate agents about what housing arrangements will be reasonable for your budget. You should measure rooms and doors sizes when you visit apartments. This information will help you make decisions later on.
  • Banking Arrangements — set up a bank account. Make sure that you are able to easily initiate transfers to this account when you are permanently abroad. Recently all US banks have moved to a two step verification system for even accessing banking information. You probably need to set up some sort of system where you can receive text messages to a US telephone number, wherever you are in the world.
  • Medical Considerations — rules for medical insurance differ greatly. Get up to date information about what kind of medical coverage you can expect, and how to arrange for supplementary insurance where necessary. In most locations in the world, English health records are acceptable, but if necessary, translate important medical documents. Most countries have minimum vaccination requirements. Make sure that you have all that they require.
  • Education Considerations – check schools if you have kids. There might be many options that you need to consider, and register early to save a spot for your kids.

Order Relocation Services

SDC International Shipping recommends that you order you international relocation services as early as possible. Times for shipments vary from 4-10 weeks, depending upon the exact combination of your point of origin and your final destination, and shipment type. We can both help you with your relocation planning, and also your timing, and in some cases reduce the total shipment time necessary when you order early.

Returning Citizens

Many foreigners come to the United States for several years. They come to learn, to teach, to train, to work. Some stay for a few years, some stay for a few decades. When you return to your home country there are some things you need to plan for. 

Changes in Personal Status

Have you gotten married while in the United States? Divorced? Have you had any children born while you were here? Any changes in your personal status should have been reported to your country’s consulate. Most countries will allow your spouse automatic residence visas, some will give them automatic citizenship allowing them to work as well. For most countries, the children of citizens born abroad will be considered citizens of that country.

If your country has mandatory conscription, it is wise to speak with the consulate if you have children who are approaching the conscription age, or if you yourself have missed the age.

Proving Your Time Abroad

Also, it is quite common for countries to provide some sort of documentation of your time abroad to qualify for an exemption from paying taxes on the contents of your shipment. The time necessary for the tax exemption varies from one country to the next, from only a few months to several years. Gulf Cooperation Council states don’t offer a tax holiday, but they also have very limited customs and import duties. 

Employment Relocation


If you are moving at the request of your employer, or even at your request but their approval, make sure to ask what your budget will be. Many employers might tell you that they don’t offer a budget. Don’t be afraid to ask again as this is a negotiable item. Feel free to call SDC International Shipping to be provided with a preliminary quote to give you some indication of the costs of moving your belongings. 

Since 2018 the IRS no longer recognizes relocation services as a personal deduction. However, businesses can still deduct this as an expense. As a result, it makes a lot of sense for your company to pay SDC International Shipping directly.

Working Legally

If you are not a citizen of the country you want to move to, or the spouse of one, you will usually have to get an employment visa. For some countries it is far easier to get a residence visa than a work visa. Each country will have a list of professions for which they are more than happy to receive skilled workers. These lists always have doctors, nurses and other medical professions listed on them. Other common professions include programmers and engineers, and many countries will include specialized professions to their important industries like mining or tourism.

If your profession is not on the list, you need to start your Relocation Planning with finding a job. There are countries that in any case require you to already have a job offer in order to be issued an employment visa. There are some countries where your employer will have to start the process of the request for your employment visa for you.

If your company has asked you to move to another country to set up an office there, make sure that they have already arranged all of the steps necessary to operate a legal entity in that country.

Retirement Relocation

There are many climates in the United States that can be hard, especially in the winter. Also, many people prefer to have full time help around the house as they grow older. For many Americans, this can best be accomplished abroad, where living in a milder climate is easier. Also, retirement income is sufficient to easily cover the costs of living and the cost of an employee. There are some countries that even make the employment of a local citizen a condition of your visa.

Typically, countries will allow you to retire there with some stipulations. Most countries will require that you acquire a residence, transfer a minimum amount of funds, and can show sufficient funds to maintain themselves. It is common for countries with all inclusive medical coverage to add more conditions to retirement visas.

You usually are not permitted to work when you move with a retirement visa, but you are allowed to stay in your country without being forced to renew your visa.

Expat Communities

Some people love to immerse themselves in new cultures. Relishing in the new language, food and culture is fun for them. For other Americans, it is a little difficult to change ways, and living in American expat communities worldwide is both convenient and comforting. There are communities like these all over the world, some very close like Mexico and Belize, some very far like Thailand or the Philippines. 

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By Kfir Cohen

Kfir Cohen is handling global operations, cargo shipping, negotiation, and management of different suppliers around the world. He has more than 15 years of experience in the avant-garde of relocation and the sea/air freight business.
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